New Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, today led his MPs through the lobbies in an attempt to abolish the hated Bedroom Tax.
Glasgow South MP Tom Harris joined Jim and parliamentary colleagues from across the country in a bid to persuade the government to scrap the tax, which Tom described as “the most hated tax since the poll tax.”
‘Unfortunately, despite winning the argument, and despite the posturing of LibDem MPs, we were once again defeated in the lobbies,” said Tom. “But the next Labour government will prioritise scrapping this dreadful measure.”
Scottish Labour MPs with new Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, following the vote in the House of Commons. Tom is at the back, third from the left, his face partly obscured by Michael McCann’s big baw face
Glasgow South MP Tom Harris has welcomed Jim Murphy’s announcement that Scottish Labour should devolve 100 per cent of income tax to the Scottish Parliament.
Murphy, the East Renfrewshire MP vying to become Scottish Labour’s new leader, made the comments during a speech in Glasgow yesterday. Murphy also challenged the SNP to match his commitment to use the new tax powers to levy a 50 per cent tax rate on Scots earning more than £150,000 annually.
Tom said: “There is absolutely no point in demanding new powers for their own sake. The only reason new powers for Holyrood should be sought is in order to use them. Jim Murphy has promised he will do just that. Now it’s time for the SNP to follow his lead.
“So far, the SNP’s only tax commitment has been to cut corporation tax, saving wealthy business owners millions. Will they now match their talk on ‘social justice’ with real action, and pledge to raise the top rate of tax?”
Tom acknowledged that there were some in Scotland who have previously opposed full devolution of income tax, but appealed to them to back it as part of efforts to heal the rifts caused by the divisive and heated referendum campaign:
“Whatever the views of nationalist activists, the majority of those who voted Yes are democrats who, however reluctantly, accept the democratic will of the Scottish people. It is now incumbent on those who supported the No campaign to acknowledge that position and perhaps to reciprocate by moving to a position a majority of Scots can live with.”
Tom was one of a number of parliamentarians who nominated Jim Murphy for the position of Scottish leader. His local constituency parties, Glasgow Cathcart and Glasgow Southside subsequently gave supporting nominations to him.
Veterans in Britain’s armed forces were honoured at a special Remembrance Day event at Cathcart Old Parish Church this morning.
Local MP Tom Harris was invited to present Veteran’s Badges to a number of patrons of the church’s Coming Home Centre, set up to provide support services to those who have served in the nation’s military.
The presentations took place during the church’s annual Remembrance Day service at which Tom also laid a wreath on behalf of the House of Commons.
Tom told the congregation: “Since the Veteran’s Badge was launched, I’ve had the privilege of presenting it to many ex-service men and women from this constituency. It is a particular honour to be asked to do so duiring theis special Remembrance Day event.
“The badge, like its recipients, is modest, dignified and important. It should be worn with pride.”
Tom Harris has offered some moral support to a local charity working to protect and re-home cats.
Glasgow-based charity Catflap was holding a fund-raising coffee afternoon at Shawlands Kirk and invited Tom, the local MP, to pop in.
Tom said: “Catflap does a terrific job looking after and rehosiing stray cats, making sure they go to good homes where they will be loved. In the last year alone the charity has rehomed nearly 3700 cats, for which they should be congratulated.”
Some cats are more difficult to re-house than others, Tom was told...
Tom Harris MP is envious of his English colleagues, he has told the House of Commons, because they have the prospect of improved bus services within their grasp. In Scotland, Ministers at Holyrood remain resolutely opposed to any form of even the lightest regulation of our buses.
The Glasgow South MP, a former transport minister, was speaking during a House of Commons debate on the future of bus services in England. Bus passenger numbers throughout the UK have plummeted since the then Conservative government deregulated the industry in 1986. The only exception was London, which was never deregulated and which has seen a healthy growth in passenger services over the last 30 years.
The Labour Party has pledged to give local authorities in England the power to regulate bus services to guarantee stability of services and to ensure that socially-necessary routes – which are frequently abandoned by private bus companies if they don’t produce a profit – receive a quality service.
He told MPs:
I stand here envious of my English colleagues. We have the prospect of a Labour Government next May, and of regulated bus services throughout England. If only that were the case in Scotland. Successive Scottish Executives, led by the Labour Party and now by the Scottish National Party, have refused to re-regulate the buses. In Scotland, for some reason, SNP Ministers do not want to introduce regulation. I cannot imagine why.
What is it about the anti-regulation arguments of multi-million pounds SNP donor Brian Souter that Scottish Ministers find so persuasive?
I hope the example the next Labour Government will produce will cause Ministers in Scotland of whatever political colour to change their minds.
Read Tom’s speech here. Watch the video of his speech below.
NJC founder Jim McColl
Newlands Junior College came a step closer today as founder Jim McColl predicted a rewarding future for the kind of young people who may have been let down by the existing education system.
The independence issue has been settled, Tom Harris MP has told supporters. Speaking after the official announcement of the result of the referendum, the Glasgow South MP called on Yes supporters to accept the democratic will of the Scottish people and accept that Scotland’s future is within the United Kingdom.
The ‘No Thanks’ campaign HQ in Cathcart has become the latest target of nationalist thugs aiming to silence any dissenting voices.
‘No Thanks’ banners were ripped down from the shop in Langside Place, Langside, last night.